In 1996–2002, 227 breeding attempts were studied in a colour-ringed Sedge Warbler population. Although 11% of males in this population resumed singing in order to mate with another female after their first females had laid eggs, only two polygynous males (i.e. 0.6%) were recorded. This is a very low value in comparison to other studies (ca. 7% on average). The low level of polygyny is attributable to the low food abundance in a natural floodplain, as the nestlings in this population were fed on predominantly small food items. Both polygynous males were recorded in 2002; this year was unusual, because flooding in early June (around the hatching date) destroyed most of the broods. This could have led to an influx of new females into the study area, a change in the operational sex ratio, and new mating opportunities for males.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1